Physical Inactivity poses highest Alzheimer's risk

Physical Inactivity poses highest Alzheimer's risk

We have known for a long time that exercising can help ward off all manner of health problems including dementia but a new study has shown a lack of exercise can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia in later life. This new research carried out by Cambridge University suggests just one hour’s exercise a week can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost half.

This study is landmark piece of research which looked at almost a decade of studies on each of the risk factors of dementia and used new methods to determine how many cases of dementia could be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. The evidence found many things impact the risk of dementia but physical inactivity is the highest, closely followed by obesity, high bloody pressure and smoking.

If ever there was evidence for a healthy, active lifestyle this is it. Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia effects one in three people and with a population which is ageing quickly, the number of people with the condition is expected to double within just 20 years. Over 800,000 people living in the UK today live with a form of dementia and many of these people may have been able to prevent the condition with a change of lifestyle.

The NHS guidelines for physical activity recommend 2.5 hours or moderate activity such as brisk walks and aerobics a week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of more vigorous or strenuous exercise including running, football or rugby. All these exercises should also be teamed with some muscle strengthening exercises such as yoga, heavy gardening or weightlifting.

There is no time like the present to preserve your health for the future and even older people can start getting active at a later age. Many gyms have specialist classes for older members and the using the pool and other low-intensity exercise machines and activities can be a great way to get started.

To halt the speed that dementia is spreading involves some simple lifestyle changes for many and working in the exercise element shouldn’t be too hard with a trip to your gym or even a walk in the park whilst the summer sun is out.

Comments

Sasha B.
1 August 2014

Sasha B.

Very scary that dementia is getting so common. But there are also other reasons for it increasing, not just lack of exercise. Too much sugar is linked to it too.

craig t.
31 July 2014

craig t.

My granddad suffered from this and it's a horrible condition. I don't know if it's genetic, but I know I'm doing everything I can to avoid it.

Elliot M.
31 July 2014

Elliot M.

Sounds like another good reason to keep active

Matthew C.
30 July 2014

Matthew C.

This is very interesting reading. I hadn't heard about this in the news myself. Every little bit of incentive to exercise is really welcome, and no more incentive than this.

Frank H.
29 July 2014

Frank H.

With Alzheimer's in the family this is something that always plays on my mind. I try to make sure all my family are aware of the benefits of exercise. Also to follow on from Roger's point, Walking Football is a sport that Saga and other older age charities recommend to keep fitness levels up!

Roger B.
28 July 2014

Roger B.

not sure football and rugby are not really feasible later in life - but there are plenty of other options. I wonder if the exercise works better combined with a mental challenge - an interesting dance class might be ideal.

Clare R.
28 July 2014

Clare R.

interesting - I knew that research showed that mental activity helped, but didn't know this. Let us hope research continues towards a cure.

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